Fifty-one days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia Ebola-free, at least two new cases have of the deadly disease have emerged in the West African nation.
With close to 5,000 deaths, Liberia recorded the maximum number of casualties in the present outbreak of the disease. On May 9, WHO had declared Liberia free of Ebola. The relief, however, seems to have been short-lived. On Tuesday, Liberia’s deputy minister for health, Tolbert Nyenswah, announced that a new case had been discovered 48 km from capital city Monrovia. WHO, till now, has not released any statement about the same.
A burial team took swabs from the body of Abraham Memaigar, 17, who died at home over the weekend, to test for the virus. The preliminary tests were positive for Ebola. On Tuesday, an Ebola response team exhumed the body to conduct a more precise swab test which eventually confirmed the presence of the virus.
Speaking to New York Times, Moses Massaquoi, the case manager for the response team, said that one other person connected to Memiagar also tested positive late on Tuesday, while tests on two others came back inconclusive. Total 33 people who had been in contact with Memaigar are being monitored. Reportedly, Liberian authorities quarantined the area where teenager’s corpse was found.
The new cases have spurred Liberia’s Ebola response system into action and efforts are underway to determine how the 17-year-old contracted the virus. It is suspected that the virus came from either Sierra Leone or Guinea, the two West African countries that are still affected with Ebola. However, the community where the virus has re-emerged is not close to the borders to either of these countries.
According to WHO, till June 21, total 11,222 deaths have been reported in the present outbreak and 27,479 people have been affected.
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